Eyebrows were raised across the sporting world today when anonymous sources within the Olympic organizing committee revealed that athletes in the 2012 Games have been told to mime their events to a pre-recorded result and commentary.
In the case of the eagerly-awaited Men’s 100 Meter event, the actual race was run under controlled conditions on an indoor track in April, with London freelance sprinters standing in for the actual athletes. The gentleman standing- in for gold-medal favorite Usain Bolt won in Olympic-record time for the second Games in a row.
It is reported that Olympic organizing committee chief executive Seb Coe was insistent that Bolt “deliver the goods for Britain,” this year. “We’ve got corporate sponsors flying in VIPS from all around the world at a cost of billions to see that 100 meters, and we can’t risk that result on the possibility of rain, a headwind or a freak injury” Coe told his colleagues.
A number of upsets have been planned for this summer’s games,”just to keep it interesting,” including a devastating late race collapse by the leader in this year’s marathon. It is reported that play-by-play announcers from the USA, Canada and Sweden were actually in tears when they recorded their call of the event in early May in a warehouse in Croydon.
It is believed that the decision to “pre-result” the entire Olympics was made shortly after it was determined that the London Symphony Orchestra could not be trusted to play live in the opening ceremony.
“After that decision was made, we got thinking” said one source with knowledge of the process, “that if you can’t trust one of the great orchestras in the world to deliver under pressure, how can you be sure that the athletes will be able to give fans the kind of once-in-a-lifetime experience they’re expecting and paying for? Really, once we realized that even with the greatest collection of recording engineers and sound-reinforcement experts in the world in London, we couldn’t absolutely guarantee that the mics wouldn’t pick any wind noise, we had to re-examine the entire paradigm of “live” for this Games. Even the LSO couldn’t guarantee that some bit of bassoon playing might not actually come through in the broadcast of the opening ceremony. Our focus group indicated that people like orchestras, but hate bassoons.”
It has been learned that the decision to “lip-synch” all music was taken at the highest levels of government, and resoundingly endorsed by Prime Minister David Cameron who was keen that any chance for musicians to act as “loose cannons” should be quashed. “If those mics are live,” the Prime Minister is reported to have said, “what’s to stop all those left-wingers in the orchestra from playing “The Internationale” or, worse yet, a classical piece written after 1911? And think of the humiliation for the UK if anyone can hear the bassoon in a broadcast that is going to reach billions?”
The decision to “pre-result” the Games has received a mixed reaction from athletes coming to London. Some have bitterly complained about the lack of an opportunity to compete live, while others say the resulting process was unfairly weighted according to the concerns of corporate sponsors. It is believed that athletes with pre-signed sponsorship and endorsement agreements with major Olympic corporate partners are going to do well in 2012. “It’s not good for business if a runner that Nike or Coke have a major endorsement deal with gets a bad start and misses out on a medal,” one agent reported.
Other athletes are more sanguine. The US Men’s Basketball team were happy to settle for a Silver this year in the name of creating “a bit of drama,” in exchange for saving their knees for next year’s NBA season. Meanwhile, it was reported that the Jamaican sprinters were planning to spend their time between miming races they were going to dominate anyway “getting nicely baked.”